After a long and often cringeworthy courting process, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has made the decision to waive his no-trade clause and agree to play for the Cleveland Browns in a trade that was preapproved by the Texans organization.
The trade will involve three first round picks, the next three the Browns have which includes 13th pick overall in the 2022 NFL Draft as well as two other picks, a third round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024. The Browns, in addition to Watson, are getting a 2024 fifth-round pick.
The Browns are not giving up any players in the deal.
The Browns, who were initially ruled out of the process by Watson, were willing to keep up the pressure in their recruitment and were able to convince him to play in the AFC North. The Browns are agreeing to guarantee the entirety of a five-year $230 million deal, which was a major reason Watson chose Cleveland.
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That is particularly noteworthy given the legal challenges ahead of Watson. Still being sued by 22 women for alleged sexual misconduct and harassment. Beyond the risk for criminal charges, Watson could face suspension from the league when the court cases are resolved.
Watson, who will turn 27 years old in September, was the man this organization wanted. They believe, in spite of the controversy, they have their quarterback and the ability to compete for a championship. The Browns were clearly willing to endure any potential fallout for the move given their determination.
The framework of the deal did not include Baker Mayfield, who had requested a trade on Thursday, so that deal may be resolved quickly and separately. Not only do the Browns want to recoup some resources in the Watson deal, but they could use the cap space of $18.9 million that Mayfield is currently guaranteed.